In actuality, the Boalsburg Memorial Day Festival is a very, very big deal. As the story goes, Memorial Day was started in Boalsburg when in 1864 three local women decorated the graves of their fallen soldiers in austere remembrance. The birthplace of a national holiday is no small matter, and Boalsburg carries the burden gleefully with a five day event in celebration and remembrance of our fallen soldiers every Memorial Day weekend. With a large craft show through historic Boalsburg, delicious local foods and famous homemade pies, car shows, and a carnival, this is definitely the premiere Memorial Day event! And with only an average of 20-25,000 visitors the festival has an added bonus of feeling very intimate and cozy.
On Memorial Day, historical tours and family activities are held at the Boalsburg Heritage Museum and the Boal Mansion. Special for the weekend, there is free admission to the stunning Pennsylvania Military Museum. The museum is doable in an hour and it is highly recommended that visitors take time to explore the exhibits, enjoy the art and artifacts and learn about Pennsylvania’s military history. In front of the museum on the lawn are ornate monuments to various infantries, battalions and individuals from the region’s military history. On the memorial lawn, a cool car show takes place, and also an authentic civil war re-enactment camp. Re-enactors fire canons off every hour on the hour in celebration of the day.
Most of the events at the Memorial Day Festival take place on Monday, but all through the weekend there are plenty of events going on in Boalsburg, including a fireman’s carnival, the relaxing walk through the arts and craft show, and on Saturday a parade through town. On Memorial Day there is a 5K race through historic Boalsburg. Later in the evening on Monday, as the various activities draw to a close, there is a community walk to the town cemetery where Memorial Day was first observed in 1864. A fitting salute to a festival so dedicated to both the celebration and very history of this amazing National Holiday.